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Whoa!  Lay Off the Vitamins!
Posted: 24 November 2013 08:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 181 ]
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macgyver - 24 November 2013 07:59 PM
VYAZMA - 24 November 2013 07:38 PM

Besides like I have stated now 100x.  I don’t take vitamins as any kind of preventative measure.  I just supplement my nutritional intake with them.
.

If you don’t take them “as any kind of preventive measure” then what do you take them for? The only reason to supplement your nutritional intake is to cure or prevent illness or death aka maintain good health, otherwise there is no need to take them at all.

VYAZMA - 24 November 2013 07:38 PM

Let me know when you find a study that shows that ingesting vitamins doesn’t in fact release any nutrients into one’s metabolism.

There is no evidence that more is better when it comes to vitamins. The evidence seems to show that there is an optimal level of intake that is required above which no further benefit is gained. In fact there is evidence that taking more than this optimal level of certain vitamins can in fact be harmful, so an attempt to imply that vitamins are absorbed and therefor only something positive can come from that is ignoring the science and the evidence.

The lifestyle argument?  That fast? Jeez…
Like I asked you before MacGeyver, what is the optimal level?  And what yardstick do you use to gain a mean base level intake among a given population?
If you are using the food pyramid for example, i can assure you that I and millions of Americans don’t obtain the requirements of the Food Pyramid.
But if you are not referring to the food pyramid(or whatever they call it nowadays) please explain how you come to that mean base level of intake among the general population, and how an overage is calculated based on that mean base level?

Are we back to lifestyle again here? Are you being a lifestyle tyrant Mac?

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Posted: 24 November 2013 08:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 182 ]
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And by the way we are right back to square one here.
If you choose to rebut that in fact the vast majority of Americans do in fact gain the RDA req’s of the Food Pyramid then you do realize that
that goal is achieved through….wait for it….you guessed it!  Supplementation.  Fortification of staple foods like cereals, milks, etc…
So it’s supplementation Mac.  All the way.

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Posted: 25 November 2013 06:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 183 ]
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If we study people who take vitamins, so far we don’t see any better health in those people than in those who don’t. Sometimes we see an increased risk of health problems in those taking vitamins. Unless your diet is radically different from the thousands of people in these studies, it doesn’t seem likely taking vitamins will help you avoid any health problems, and they might cause a few. You are free to take them if you like, but there doesn’t seem any good reason you should.

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Posted: 25 November 2013 06:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 184 ]
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Like Mckenzie said the average American seems to gain no benefit from a daily intake of vitamins above and beyond what they get in their diet so this is not really a question of lifestyle or a criticism of anyones lifestyle. Unless your diet is in some way drastically different than the majority of people in these studies then you gain no advantage when you take an additional supplement.

Your point is well taken that we all eat foods that have some vitamin supplements added to them. Whether that explains the fact that people who take vitamins do not benefit from them is hard to say but in the end it doesn’t change the answer to the question of whether it is necessary or beneficial to take additional vitamin supplements. The answer is no, but as we have been saying all along you are free to do whatever you like. This is a conversation about the merits of taking vitamins not a discussion of your right to do so.

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Posted: 25 November 2013 07:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 185 ]
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I would like to see studies done with vegetarians and vegans, both are groups in which vitamins are recommended, in part because their diets are radically different from the majority of people.  I would like to point out that Occam, if I remember correctly, said he takes a vitamin pill often and he’s older than we are, with good health.  My grandmother lived well into her 90s, very healthy for her age and took vitamins too, as well as many others. In fact, because my grandfather was on high blood pressure meds, he had to also take potassium pills too.  It is also recommended, by physicians and in many articles shown in these threads, that women in menopause take calcium and D3 too.  So I’m not so sure they cause problems, if taken as recommended, esp if the dr recommends a patient to do so.  It seems to me, those who are anti-vitamin, ignore the statements in these studies/articles concerning the groups in which supplements are recommended and I just named three groups.

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Posted: 25 November 2013 07:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 186 ]
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Mriana as we all know anecdotes do not offer useful data. Mentioning that someone did X and had outcome Y doesn’t prove anything because there are too many other variables which are not accounted for. There are people who smoked all their lives and lived to be 100. That doesn’t mean smoking is a healthy thing to do.

There are some limited situations in which vitamin supplementation has been proven beneficial. People with pernicious anemia who can;t absorb Vitamin B12 will certainly benefit from B12 injections. Folic Acid supplements given to pregnant women can help prevent spinal cord deformities in the fetus.

I am not anti-vitamin. I am against using vitamins or any other treatment where there is insufficient data to support the practice. If there is good evidence that a given practice is beneficial then I would support it, but in the vast majority of situations in which people use vitamins there is no good evidence to support the way they are being used.

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Posted: 25 November 2013 07:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 187 ]
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macgyver - 25 November 2013 07:33 PM

Mriana as we all know anecdotes do not offer useful data. Mentioning that someone did X and had outcome Y doesn’t prove anything because there are too many other variables which are not accounted for. There are people who smoked all their lives and lived to be 100. That doesn’t mean smoking is a healthy thing to do.

You are comparing vitamins to tobacco use? Seriously?

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Posted: 25 November 2013 07:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 188 ]
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Mriana - 25 November 2013 07:43 PM
macgyver - 25 November 2013 07:33 PM

Mriana as we all know anecdotes do not offer useful data. Mentioning that someone did X and had outcome Y doesn’t prove anything because there are too many other variables which are not accounted for. There are people who smoked all their lives and lived to be 100. That doesn’t mean smoking is a healthy thing to do.

You are comparing vitamins to tobacco use? Seriously?

No, I am illustrating the futility of anecdotal evidence.

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Posted: 25 November 2013 07:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 189 ]
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First of all, Mriana, no one is “anti-vitamin.” We are simply discussing the evidence concerning the risks and benefits of vitamin supplements. So far, the best evidence we have suggests that for the general population, without measurable deficiencies or specific reasons to need extra vitamin supplementation, there appears to be no benefit and some risk. You’re certainly right that some specific populations (people with measurable deficiencies, people with extremely restricted diets, pregnant women, etc) may have specific reasons to need vitamin supplements. It’s not a question of whether vitamins are “good” or “bad” but what the risks and benefits of specific supplements are for specific populations.

Now, the fact that your grandmother took vitamins and lived in good health to an advanced age is a great thing, but it isn’t evidence for or against the value of multivitamins for elderly women. Anecdotes really don’t help us much with such questions, though everyone seems to prefer them to scientific studies.

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Posted: 25 November 2013 08:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 190 ]
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mckenzievmd - 25 November 2013 07:54 PM

First of all, Mriana, no one is “anti-vitamin.” We are simply discussing the evidence concerning the risks and benefits of vitamin supplements. So far, the best evidence we have suggests that for the general population, without measurable deficiencies or specific reasons to need extra vitamin supplementation, there appears to be no benefit and some risk. You’re certainly right that some specific populations (people with measurable deficiencies, people with extremely restricted diets, pregnant women, etc) may have specific reasons to need vitamin supplements. It’s not a question of whether vitamins are “good” or “bad” but what the risks and benefits of specific supplements are for specific populations.

Now, the fact that your grandmother took vitamins and lived in good health to an advanced age is a great thing, but it isn’t evidence for or against the value of multivitamins for elderly women. Anecdotes really don’t help us much with such questions, though everyone seems to prefer them to scientific studies.

The fact that she was post menopausal is enough to place in the population in which vitamins benefit, as stated in many studies posted here. Granted, she is one case out of many that supports the statements made in the studies posted about said groups benefiting.  She never broke a hip in her 94 years of life, that’s for sure.  I too am menopausal and a vegetarian, so I am also among the population that is recommended the need for vitamin supplements.  Thus, the blanket statements that no one should take vitamins that I am reading from you and macgyver, are contrary to the studies posted concerning these populations of people.  I also would note that even asanta said she’d recommend vitamins for vegetarians/vegans, so I think the blanket statements/arguments that you two are making do not hold true to even the studies you posted, esp given that it was made note even those studies that certain populations are recommended to take vitamins.  Note, I said, that I am reading, meaning, if I were listening to your words orally, this is what I’d be hearing and am “hearing” from what you two are saying.  To say such things isn’t quite accurate, as I read the studies and trust me, I have been reading the posts and reading the links too, even though I haven’t said much.

Maybe, if you aren’t anti-vitamin and aren’t saying vitamins are neither good or bad, maybe you might want to rephrase some of things you two are saying, because the posts read as though you two are completely and totally anti-vitamin.

Let me ask you this, as a veterinarian.  IF you had a patient (cat, dog, hamster and/or whatever other animal you treat) was behaving ill and you discovered they were low in iron, would you recommend the caregiver give their pet an iron supplement or an expensive pet food you had on hand selling for a distributor? If you’d choose the iron supplement, why?  If you chose the expensive food you were selling for the distributor, why?  And be honest, esp if it means admitting the truth about selling a particular brand of expensive food, possibly getting a kickback. BTW, I had a cat who was low on iron and the vet Rx the iron supplement and not the expensive pet food she had on hand, which I personally appreciated, because she was taking into consideration my limited resources also.  Would you consider the same things?

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Posted: 25 November 2013 08:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 191 ]
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mckenzievmd - 25 November 2013 06:28 PM

If we study people who take vitamins, so far we don’t see any better health in those people than in those who don’t. Sometimes we see an increased risk of health problems in those taking vitamins. Unless your diet is radically different from the thousands of people in these studies, it doesn’t seem likely taking vitamins will help you avoid any health problems, and they might cause a few. You are free to take them if you like, but there doesn’t seem any good reason you should.

You keep going back to vitamins as a preventative measure against “health problems”.
People don’t eat food as preventative measure against health problems.
It’s the same difference.  It’s a means of introducing needed chemical compounds into the body-just like food.

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Posted: 26 November 2013 05:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 192 ]
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the posts read as though you two are completely and totally anti-vitamin.

Let me ask you this, as a veterinarian.  IF you had a patient (cat, dog, hamster and/or whatever other animal you treat) was behaving ill and you discovered they were low in iron, would you recommend the caregiver give their pet an iron supplement or an expensive pet food you had on hand selling for a distributor?

I don’t know how many times I can repeat that vitamin supplements are appropriate when there is a specific, validated medical reason to take them, such as a deficiency. In my very first post in this thread, I indicated that was a legitimate reason to take a supplement: “people either take them because 1) they have a specific risk factor for which supplementation has been validated, 2) they believe “more is better” when it comes to vitamins or 3) they figure they are harmless and take them as “insurance” against an inadequate diet. The growing research referred to in the article indicates that only 1 is a reasonable, rational approach to taking vitamin supplements above RDA levels.”

And back in June, in response to a post of yours, I said, “I have no idea where you got the idea that I was “totally anti-supplement.” I believe I specifically said several times that supplements are inappropriate if not used for a specific proven indication. There absolutely are some clear cases in which supplements are appropriate and effective. The problem is simply the widespread assumption that they are beneficial and safe regardless of any data on the subject.”

I don’t know how much clearer I can be about this, and there’s not much point to this discussion if after 13 pages my basic position is still misunderstood.

IF you had a patient (cat, dog, hamster and/or whatever other animal you treat) was behaving ill and you discovered they were low in iron, would you recommend the caregiver give their pet an iron supplement or an expensive pet food you had on hand selling for a distributor?

So, if there is a measurable deficiency, clearly a supplement is indicated. Of course, if the deficiency is due to an inadequate diet, it would be better to treat it by fixing the diet than by giving a supplement indefinately, but there are plenty of cases in which a supplement is appropriate. It just makes no sense for people with no specific risk factors or measurable deficiency, which is most of the people buying and taking vitamin supplements.

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Posted: 26 November 2013 06:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 193 ]
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You keep going back to vitamins as a preventative measure against “health problems”.
People don’t eat food as preventative measure against health problems.
It’s the same difference.  It’s a means of introducing needed chemical compounds into the body-just like food.

Well, people do sometimes eat food as a preventative health measure. There are numerous studies about the potential benefits of specific foods for reducing disease risk (e.g. THIS STUDY showing a dose-response relationship between eating nuts and mortality risk). Often the evidence is only epidemiological and not very good, but the general idea that food can have preventative health effects is pretty widely accepted.

As for the issue of taking vitamins to get vitamins rather than eating food to get vitamins, sure you can do that. I don’t know why you would, and if you are eating enough calories to maintain your body weight and not on an extreme diet of some kind, you probably are getting all the vitamins you need from your food already, so the supplements are extra and probably unecessary. But theoretically one could avoid food entirely and take all the essential components of food (calories, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, micronutrients) as supplements, though my guess is this wouldn’t be nearly as healthy a practice as just eating food.

But even if that’s why you take vitamins, that is why most people do. Most people take vitamin supplements either to oobtain a health benefit or as “insurance” against an inadequate diet, which you’ve implied before is part of your reason for doing so. And the evidence still shows that doesn’t seem to be a good idea.

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Posted: 26 November 2013 08:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 194 ]
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I am interested in the latest scientific data that vitamin supplements are not doing us any good and could be doing harm. I have taken vitamin pills on occasion in the past for the same reason many people take them—for “insurance” when I knew I wasn’t eating a perfect diet, which was most ofthe time.  I wonder if anyone knows, perhaps one of the doctors, what we have to eat to get adequate nutrition and all the vitamins we need.  The last time I looked it up I decided that if I ate all the food recommended—3 squares a day—I would weigh 50 pounds more—if I could even get that much food down!  The calories that were recommended were much more than I had been eating.  As it is I eat lightly but sensibly to keep my weight down (though I can’t seem to shed the 20 pounds or so that I am over my ideal weight). I eat two meals a day and neither one is usually “square.” I haven’t taken take any vitamin supplements for years. Am I likely to be deficient?  How can we injest enough nutrition without gaining weight? Or does it not matter that we’re not getting a full complement of vitamins in our food every day?

Lois

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Posted: 26 November 2013 08:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 195 ]
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Lois - 26 November 2013 08:34 PM

I am interested in the latest scientific data that vitamin supplements are not doing us any good and could be doing harm. I have taken vitamin pills on occasion in the past for the same reason many people take them—for “insurance” when I knew I wasn’t eating a perfect diet, which was most ofthe time.  I wonder if anyone knows, perhaps one of the doctors, what we have to eat to get adequate nutrition and all the vitamins we need.  The last time I looked it up I decided that if I ate all the food recommended—3 squares a day—I would weigh 50 pounds more—if I could even get that much food down!  The calories that were recommended were much more than I had been eating.  As it is I eat lightly but sensibly to keep my weight down (though I can’t seem to shed the 20 pounds or so that I am over my ideal weight). I eat two meals a day and neither one is usually “square.” I haven’t taken take any vitamin supplements for years. Am I likely to be deficient?  How can we injest enough nutrition without gaining weight? Or does it not matter that we’re not getting a full complement of vitamins in our food every day?

Lois

You don’t need to get the full daily requirement of vitamins in your diet everyday. It takes a while to deplete your vitamin stores on a nutritionally poor diet. Some days you may get more than you need and others less. It will all even out unless you are going months on some incredibly nutrient poor diet.

Lois the point McKenzie and I have been trying to make here is that most Americans seem to be getting enough vitamins in their existing diets such that supplements don’t seem to offer any health advantage to most of us so you probably don’t have to give a great deal of thought to your diet if your main concern is vitamins. That’s not to say you shouldn’t eat a balanced diet with sufficient servings of fruits,vegetables, grains, nuts etc but you don’t need to be concerned about counting up your vitamin intake.

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